Module One: Lesson One
Early Steps: An Umbrella Program
You may not be aware that Early Steps is comprised of several programs that assist families with high risk or developmentally delayed infants and toddlers gain the services and skills they need to support their infants. Early Steps, within Children's Medical Services in the Florida Department of Health, is an umbrella program for infants and toddlers, birth to age three, and their families. The purpose of this umbrella program is to identify eligible infants early, to develop an Individualized Family Support Plan (IFSP) based on the family's concerns and priorities, and to coordinate the provision of early intervention services and related supports. These programs consolidate to provide a comprehensive, coordinated program of family-responsive services for infants and toddlers. The state-funded Developmental Evaluation and Intervention (DEI) Program, part of Chapter 393, Florida Statutes, and the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Program for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities (Part C) are all under the umbrella of the CMS Early Steps system. Let us take a closer look at each of these three programs beginning with the Developmental Evaluation and Intervention (DEI) Program.
Developmental Evaluation and Intervention (DEI) Program
The Developmental Evaluation and Intervention (DEI) program component is a coordination of services program intended to enhance the family's ability to maximize their child's potential. It is intended to provide comprehensive assessments of the needs of infants and toddlers who have received services in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of designated hospitals, infants identified as hearing impaired or at high risk of hearing impairment, and infants who have been referred by the CMS Genetics/Infant Screening Program. Infants identified in a NICU must meet medical as well as family income eligibility to receive services under this program component. There is no financial eligibility criteria for infants identified with hearing impairments.
The focus is on early identification and the provision of service coordination. Service coordination assures that the infant and family receive specific services to address the concerns, priorities, and outcomes identified in the Individualized Family Support Plan (IFSP) and coordinates the provision of intervention and assistance, as needed, to infants and their families.
The DEI program component can also include audiological monitoring for infants found to be at high risk for late onset hearing loss (after the first month of life). All children born in Florida receive newborn hearing screening, typically before discharge from the hospital. Children with confirmed hearing loss in one or both ears are eligible for Part C services under Established Conditions and can receive services through a subcomponent of Early Steps called SHINE (Serving Hearing Impaired Newborns Effectively). SHINE services include those by the SHINE provider and ongoing services from hearing specialists in the community and/or local school districts that may provide early intervention services for children with hearing impairments.
The DEI state-funded program serves infants and toddlers who meet the following criteria:
For more information on the DEI program specific to your area, contact your local Early Steps.
Chapter 393, Florida Statutes
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
The EHA was amended again in 1990 by P.L. 101-476, which among other things, changed the name of the legislation to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA. The IDEA was first amended in 1992 by P.L. 102-119. The newest amendments to this law are the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997 (P.L. 105-17).
On June 4, 1997, President William J. Clinton signed the bill reauthorizing and amending the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The bill became Public Law 105-17, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997. The law is commonly called "IDEA '97." IDEA is organized in four parts: Part A, General Provisions; Part B, Assistance for the Education of All Children with Disabilities (school age/preschool programs); Part C, Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities; and Part D, National Activities to Improve the Education of Children with Disabilities (support programs). P.L. 105-17 retains the major provisions of earlier federal laws in this area, including the assurance of having a free appropriate public education (FAPE) available to all children with disabilities, in the least restrictive environment (LRE), and the guarantee of due-process procedures and procedural safeguards. It also includes modifications to the law. In the area of early intervention services, which are now Part C, IDEA '97, those modifications are:
Other Relevant Federal Legislation